DOOM Eternal (PS4) Review

When DOOM was set to be rebooted back in 2016, nobody knew what to expect. Would it be a simple remake of the original game with some cinematics thrown in, would it be a 30fps narrative FPS, or would it tone down the violence in order to be more appealing for younger gamers? Hell no! What we got was a badass, violent, bloodthirsty, slaughter-fest of a game which focused on delivering a solid 60fps with integrated slowed down ‘Glory Kills’ and adrenaline-inducing combat. I’m so happy to say that DOOM Eternal did not disappoint as a direct sequel to this action-packed demonic massacre!

id Software and Bethesda have clearly set out to create an experience you’ll find hard to forget, building upon the foundations of DOOM (2016) whilst enhancing and expanding the gameplay through various new mechanics and returning fan favourites. I’ve played through the campaign to its conclusion, explored every nook and cranny of each of the massive maps, and tore apart every single demon in a number of ways – now, it’s time to tell you how bloody brilliant this game is and why you need to buy it when it launches later this week!

DOOM Eternal 1

Thank god that giant mech killed the giant demon before I got here!

DOOM Eternal directly follows the events of Doom (2016), although previous knowledge of the story within that title isn’t really required as you’ll pick up numerous codex’s throughout the game which fills you in on any relevant backstory. The big difference here is that rather than spending the entirety of the game within the demonic underbelly of Hell itself, the fight has moved to Earth – or at least what remains of it. Basically, over 60% of the Earth has been consumed by demons, wiping out the vast majority of the human race within the first month of the dimensional invasion.

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To try and counter this, military forces housed the remaining civilians within fortified structures which were cut off from all outside communications, believing this was their best approach to protect them from the onslaught of hellish creatures. As you’d expect, these safehouses didn’t last long, falling to the demonic forces which were out for blood. Doomguy, the iconic protagonist, was aboard the ARC when he picked up a signal from Earth, it was a survivor asking for help. Without hesitation, he teleports down in order to check out the destruction and madness which now plagues the surface, whilst on the lookout for the elusive Hell Priests.

These satanic demons are stations upon the Earth as a means for the invasion of Hell to continue successfully. As long as at least one of these religious monsters exists, demons can continue to invade and participate in the destruction of mankind. So, with your trusty shotgun fully loaded, your mission is to find these cultists and wipe them out, as well as anything else which gets in your way. You can use the ARC to travel to various locations around the world as you seek them out, following leads and signals as you jump in headfirst with no fear of death or your own wellbeing – you seriously are the biggest badass in the entire universe.

It’s time to kick some ass!

DOOM Eternal 2

Just carving up my Sunday roast!

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Gameplay
Oh boy, what can I say about the gameplay in DOOM Eternal? It’s fast, intense, smooth, brutal, satisfying, glorious, orgasmic, and so full of gore. If you’ve played DOOM (2016), it’s more of the same, only better. I’ve never played an FPS which felt as satisfying as this, not even any of the Wolfenstein games. The objective is simple, follow the guidance given to you within each of the areas you travel to, making your way from point A to B whilst slaughtering anything which moves along the way. Only, it’s not that simple as the levels feel like the original DOOM from way-back-when, crammed full with secret areas, collectables, combat arenas, bosses, and even some environmental puzzles.

One thing I wasn’t expecting was the amount of parkour which was present within DOOM Eternal. Pretty much every location has you jumping and grabbing onto walls, dashing through the air, climbing onto objects to gain height so you can reach secret areas, and even grabbing items mid-jump so you can jump some more and not plummet to your death. I personally really enjoyed the more flexible and athletic Doomguy, but some of the jumps and ‘flying’ segments require a lot of precision, leading to your untimely death (or at least loss of 20 hit points) should you forget to grab a wall or miss-time your boost. 

There are also swimming segments, either through water or hazardous and toxic liquids which slowly reduce your health. There isn’t many, and they aren’t difficult, but they can lead to quick deaths if you’re unsure on where to go once you get your feet wet and can’t find a hazmat suit.

One of the things I loved about DOOM Eternal has to be the abundance of ammo and health top-ups, it made life so much easier when I was in adrenaline mode trying to take out horde after horde of enemies. However, rather than simply finding the ammo scattered around (which you still can), you can gloriously cut through whatever poor soul is in front of you, causing all the ammo and health packs they seemingly have stuffed within their body to pop out. And when I say “cut through”, I mean you push Square and literally slice them in half in a number of ways with your trusty chainsaw! 

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DOOM Eternal 3

Now that’s what you call a deepthroat!

Combat
But, the star of the show here is the brutally awesome combat which feels more advanced and impactful than DOOM (2016). First of all, Glory Kills are back and they’re even more g(l)orier than ever! Deal enough damage to your prey and watch them flash, then jump in with a push of the R3 button and watch as Doomguy performs a fatality and strips the hellish demon of their ‘life’ whilst dropping much-needed health packs for yourself. I’m not sure quite how many different executions there are but it varies based on what you’re attacking and what angle you perform the attack at. That’s right, from above, coming in from the left, from the right, behind, in front, whilst dashing… – there are numerous ones for each creature.

Sticking with your hand, once you’ve slaughtered enough lost souls, you can also unleash a mighty Blood Punch, delivering immense damage which can literally cause the fleshy fiends to, sort of, explode…

In terms of accessorising, you have access to three deadly toys, a Flame Belch, Frag Grenade and Ice Bomb. The grenade and bomb speak for themselves, one blows up and the other causes anything within its range to freeze, but what’s the Flame Belch? This nifty little parrot (shoulder-mounted device) ‘belches’ out a short-range fire blast, burning your foes and delivering a few seconds of pain. But, what’s the point if it’s only a few seconds? Well, whilst slightly hotter than their home in Hell, the enemies will spit out armour packs for you to equip. 

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My only problem with this brilliant tool is the button you push to use it – it’s Triangle. Could the devs have picked a button further away from the Right Thumb Stick – requiring you to move your thumb and potentially get attacked in the process whilst being unable to aim whilst belching? For me, there was one solution – I used my NACON Revolution Unlimited Pro controller, with its four back-paddles, but I imagine the official DS4 back paddles would also come in handy for this purpose as well. 

DOOM Eternal 4

How beautiful is this gun!

Weapons
I can’t really talk about DOOM Eternal without discussing the arsenal at your disposal, can I?! Every weapon you could ask for has made its glorious return, the Shotgun, Heavy Cannon, Plasma Rifle, Rocket Launcher, Chaingun and maybe a few others such as a gun which was written by Roald Dahl 9,000 times. But, this isn’t where the buck stops in regards to the weapons you use, each one has a number of enhancements and modes you can unlock and swap between on the fly during gameplay, modes which drastically changes the secondary attack of each of them.

So, each weapon, bar three of them, have a secondary attack mode (L2) – well, they have two secondary attack modes which you can swap by pushing up on the D-Pad at any point. Such modes are explosive rounds for your Heavy Cannon, a continuous stream for the Pulse Rifle, and sticky grenades for the Shotgun. Plus, once you’ve activated these mods, you can invest Weapon Points (which you get by completing combat-related events in each stage) into each one to further enhance the impact they have and unlock new abilities such as not having to reload or wait to use the secondary attack.

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Although you can boost the effects with points, the final enhancement requires you to complete a set goal in-game, such as kill X amount of Y with a particular attack. Completing these forced me to experiment and do things I wouldn’t usually try. 

Also, with the Deluxe Edition, you can either use the new weapon sounds or replace them with the original DOOM (1993) sound effects!

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I’m so hot, my nipple is on fire!

Suit up!
Just like your weapons, your suit can also be kitted out to enhance your experience and prolong the time before you inevitably die. Sentinal Crystals can be found and invested to boost two things, they increase either your health, armour, or ammo, whilst also unlocking additional enhancements if you use two on the same upgrade – such as reducing the time between belches. You also find Praetor Suit Tokens all over the place, tokens which you can use to unlock a number of perks from different categories. I always opted to unlock the abilities relating to showing all the collectables on the map first, but there are ones relating to your accessories and support against environmental hazards. 

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There are also Runes which you can unlock. You can equip up to three of these, granting you a specific boost or ability.

As we were kindly provided with the Deluxe Edition of DOOM Eternal for review, we were able to play the game with a new suit from the beginning – the Demonic Slayer. Suits can be found throughout the game or obtained by gaining experience and unlocking them in the weekly challenges (rotates weekly and offers a bunch of challenges to unlock various cosmetics). They don’t do anything other than changing the visual look of the Doomguy, but every single cutscene (there’s a lot of third-person ones) and the arms you see in first-person reflects the one you pick. This particular one, as you can see in the images, has flames coming off you as if you’re constantly on fire!

Just to quickly touch on this, before I move on to my biggest, and only, annoyance with the game, you can also unlock skins for your weapons and even enemies. Now, why would you want to unlock skins for the creatures? Simple, it’s not for the main game but for the multiplayer mode – something which I can’t really talk about as the servers aren’t being turned on until launch day. However, I can still access the customise menu and see that you can choose the skin, podium, weapon skins, stances, intros and victories for each character. I’ve unlocked a few variants through levelling up and I can’t wait to try them out online!

DOOM Eternal 6

This is a hug, right?

The enemies/difficulty
I’m not going to lie, I played the entire game on the easiest setting (I’m too young to die) and I found some of the boss battles quite difficult thanks to the clear spike in difficulty which occurred. Before I talk about the son of a bitch which I can’t stand, those who love to hurt themselves will be happy to know that not only do you have an easy, medium, hard, and very hard mode (I’m too young to die, Hurt me plenty, Ultra-violence, and Nightmare), but you also have Ultra-nightmare (which is a perm-a-death mode which leaves a death marker when you die so you can see how far you made it, all whilst playing at Nightmare difficulty), and Extra life mode. Extra life is like old-school DOOM, you pick up lives as you play and once they’re all gone, it’s game over – this can be played at any difficulty.

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Now, there’s one enemy which had me screaming at my TV and almost caused me to rage quit on a few occasions, the Marauder. This bastard reflects all attacks unless his eyes turn green and he runs towards you – sounds simple right? Nope. If you’re too far from him then he’ll shoot unblockable projectiles, yet if you’re too close then he’ll just hold up his shield. So, you have to hover at a certain distance and try and quickly aim and shoot (with no iron sight) but only when his eyes are green. Oh, and he has a phantom dog which he sets on you occasionally which will attack you whilst you try to aim for the main guy. It’s all very stressful.

Fighting him once was enough but then he pops up as a regularly recurring character, with the same annoying attack pattern. You have no idea how many times I simply shouted “fuck no” at the TV, put it on pause, and went for a drink in the other room before returning. Thankfully I found his weakness (right near the end of the game), so my second playthrough won’t be as bad. 

On a side note, DOOM Eternal actually has a ‘Funky Kong mode’ built into it (if enabled in the menu). If you die more than three times on a boss or arena battle, the game will ask if you wish to enable the Sentinel Armour. If you say yes (you don’t have to), you’ll take less damage for that particular fight. So, even if you’re getting slaughtered, don’t give up, the game will help you out if you need it. 

DOOM Eternal 7

I’ll get the mop…

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Other than my above nemesis, the rest of the fiends are gloriously gruesome and so satisfying to slaughter. There are a lot of returning creatures from the DOOM franchise, such as the Cacodemon, Possessed Soldiers, Zombies, and Pinky, as well as new ones which I won’t spoil for you. The funny thing is, if more than one ‘species’ of creature is in an area and they haven’t yet spotted you, there’s a chance that they’ll fight each other – some of them are quite clumsy and will also indirectly attack others whilst trying to hit you as well. I love that they’re not simply immune to the other demon’s attacks.

In regards to the bosses, each one is a challenge to overcome the first time you encounter them in DOOM Eternal. You can opt for the game to present you with helpful pop-ups as you play, but they basically tell you exactly what each of these creatures weak points are. So, if you really want a challenge, turn them off and work it out for yourself – some aren’t as obvious as the others.

If you really want a challenge though, the game has ‘Master Levels’ and ‘Slayer Gates’. Slayer Gates are located within a stage, offering the player a highly difficult arena-based challenge against an onslaught of demons, yet Master Levels are accessed from the ARC and are remixed versions of existing levels, only much more difficult. Imagine Ocarina of Time: Master Quest, only with lots of blood and entrails. 

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So much better than a Funko Pop!

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The collectables
I’ve mentioned them a few times, but what are the items you’re looking for and how do they benefit you? 
• Toys: These are cute-as-hell toy figurines of each of the antagonists which you’ll find scattered across all the levels. I’ve not yet discovered where Doomguy stores these on the ARC.  *update – I found where they’re stored! Once you find the toys, you can interact with them on the ARC and view the in-game character model for that creature – like a 3D model viewer.*
• Albums/singles: You’ll regularly find LPs whilst galavanting around. At first, I thought these were like the toys, pointless – but they’re not! Once found, you can interact with the relevant poster on the ARC and listen to that particular song. The songs appear to be from previous games, not DOOM Eternal.
• Codex pages: These documents unlock backstory and further information on the events which have taken place both within the previous game and on Earth, in general. 
• Cheats: Hell yeah – you find cheats which are stored on floppy discs and are usually named in homage to what they do – such as IDDQD. Basically, when replaying a mission, you can opt to enable any of the cheats you find – these DON’T disable trophies or progression, they only block access to the Slayer Gates. So, if replaying a level to find the rest of the toys, why not enable infinite Berserk mode (literally ripping demons apart with your hands), invulnerability and my favourite, have a crowd of invisible onlookers cheer every time you slaughter an enemy – yes, this is a real thing!

Also whilst replaying mission, you can enable a god-damn photo mode! It’s in beta (which is clear as it’s not very polished at the moment), but you can jump into third-person, change your stance, swap out your skin on the fly, move the camera, etc… The only restriction here is that you can’t jump into third-person if you’re mid-Glory Kill, other than that – I can’t wait to see the pictures people get from this game!

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The things you come across in this game are breathtakingly beautiful!

Technical
DOOM Eternal is a masterpiece, it’s a bloody, splatterfest which showed zero moments of slow down outside of the pre-defined slow-motion kills. I’m playing the game on a PS4 Pro and other than the fan making its customary jet-engine noises, I have nothing but praise for the visual quality, performance, and level of detail the developers have created here. As far as I’m aware, the PS4 Pro is running the game at 1440p with a solid 60fps, and the base PS4 is 1080p at 60fps. In terms of the Xbox One X and S, I have notes saying it’s identical to the Pro and base PS4 but there has recently been a forum post saying it’s 1800p and 1080-900p respectively. 

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Either way, all platforms are performing at 60fps with the only difference being the resolution. The big question is, what will the Switch be like as that is supposedly also pushing 60fps.

The animations and everything to do with the visuals within DOOM Eternal are outstanding and far beyond most games this generation. From the first moment you step outdoors and see the vast half-destroyed world in the distance as you’re jumping around a run-down base, to when you return to your ship and look around the well-designed interior, it’s bloody fantastic! I love that a fair amount of the cutscenes are third-person, rather than having it all in first-person where you can’t see the Doomguy. Not to mention that every single Glory Kill and Berserk ‘Tear’ are so satisfying and brutally beautiful.

The voice acting is really well done, with nothing sounding out of place, and the music fits the game so much better than the TV Spot trailer (less said about that, the better). I would have liked the music to be a bit louder by default, as the sounds of the screaming and death cries drown it out, but that was easy to adjust with the sliders. When you buy this game (and you will be buying it), pop on headphones and crank it up to eleven – your ears will have an orgasm with the combination of heavy rock and the screams of the weak who have been torn in two.

On a side note – there is no in-game Microtransaction shop (either for the single-player or multiplayer). All unlocks are earnt through shared experience which you earn by playing either mode and completing challenges. 

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Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
DOOM Eternal is one of the most intense, satisfying, and brutal first-person shooters I’ve played this generation – I love it! id Software and Bethesda have taken everything which was great about DOOM (2016) and built upon the foundations in order to deliver a truly outstanding game which both looks and plays like perfection. The wide range of easy-to-understand upgrades, returning and new foes to slaughter, simply gorgeous visuals, disgusting death-blows, and adrenaline-pumping combat, all come together to create one hell of an amazing game. The only thing that could make this game any better would be more cowbell!

This review is only focused on the single-player aspect of DOOM Eternal, a campaign which took me around 35 hours to complete (although I did replay a few missions and explore the locations before moving on). I imagine it’ll be hard to complete it in under 20 hours though – if you’re just speeding through it but watching the story cutscenes. I’ll follow up with an opinion on the multiplayer once the servers go live later this week, and on Doom 64 once that unlocks. I can imagine what the MP is going to be like, as I’ve already played as one of the creatures (!), but it’ll be interesting to see how it’s been implemented.

A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

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DOOM Eternal

£54.99
10

Final Score

10.0/10

The Good:

  • - Pure, unadulterated violence as you tear, slice, rip, blow up, and deform the demonic bastards
  • - Combat arenas that will get your adrenaline pumping, with parkour and simplistic navigation puzzles bewteen in order to let you calm down
  • - Lots of items to find, unlock, and achieve to enhance your experience
  • - Findable cheat codes which don't disable progress or trophies when replaying a stage. Plus, Photo Mode!
  • - Over 20 hours long (took me 35), just for the campaign, and ran flawlessly at 60fps 100% of the time

The Bad:

  • - The bosses introduce a spike in difficult which is quite big at times (although you can opt to continue with a boost in defence)
  • - The parkour can be a bit fiddly, but you do get used to it after a while
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